Mills College Weekly
Chances are that if you have ever visited the post office,
whether it is to buy stamps, to send a package, or to pick up
individual mail, you would have been greeted by the welcoming smile
of Sheila Foster into her humble “second home.”
At 56, nothing gets the head manager of the Mills post office
branch down. Every weekday, Foster is up and ready to serve each
member of the Mills community from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
“There is no bad day for me really,” Foster said. “Mondays are
probably the hardest, since it’s after the weekend, but my job is
great. I like it a lot.”
For the past three years, Foster has kept the Mills community
supplied with all the stamps that they will ever need and makes
sure that every package is delivered to each corresponding
When asked what she liked best about Mills, she responded that
she loves the fact that she can go outside to enjoy the fresh air
or to look at the squirrels.
“It’s beautiful out here. I know most of the people who come to
the post office regularly, which is the benefit of a smaller
station. I was really lucky to be able to work somewhere small,”
As the mother of two children and three blossoming
grandchildren, Foster’s enjoys reading and listening to jazz as her
“I also used to knit. I got away from it, but I’m thinking of
starting it up again,” said Foster.
With no favorite book author or jazz band in mind, Foster
confessed that she likes everything and that she is willing
experience anything new.
“I try not to put myself in a box. I have to always try
everything once and I think I come to appreciate a lot more things
that way. I just love everything,” said Foster.
Receiving mail can be a big part of a Mills student’s life and
Foster makes sure that her job is well done and that everyone is
If you have not yet met one of the friendliest women on campus,
make sure to stop by the post office to say hi.
Mills College Weekly
As you walk past her she raises her head from sweeping to say
hello and asks how your day is going. She has kind eyes, a warm
smile, and a timid presence.
Tita Sandoval, one of the housekeepers for Ege Hall, is called
“wonderful” and an “inspiration” by the students who live
“[She is] an amazing person. Not only does she spend all her
waking hours cleaning up after students, but last year she went to
school at night and got a degree in Medical Assisting. She is also
a single mother to an eight-year-old son,” said Phaedra Gauci, a
junior who lives in Ege Hall.
Last semester, Sandoval attended night school at Western Career
College, receiving all A’s, while continuing to work at Mills and
raising her son Eric. She also obtained her United States
Born in Mexico, Sandoval was the first of six children, and the
only girl. Her family moved to Berkeley for 8 years when she was a
child, after which they moved back to Mexico.
As the oldest child with five brothers, Sandoval said that she
became a mother figure to them, especially to the youngest child.
“I raised him like my son,” she said.
While in Mexico, Sandoval finished school and attended college,
where her favorite subject was always biology.
When she was 27 years old, her father died and she moved back to
the Bay Area. She was always closest with her father, who was born
in Indiana, and remembers him always joking around. Her mother was
born in Mexico.
“It has been very interesting. I feel fortunate to have met both
cultures: my father’s and my mother’s,” she said.
When asked where she likes living best, her current home in San
Leandro or Mexico, Sandoval said; “I always felt that home is where
you are happiest, and this is where I.”
Sandoval lives with her son. She was 38 when she had him.
In her free time, she takes him out to science fiction movies
and to the beach. She says that he is a very smart boy, and an
advanced reader. “I used to read to him. Now he reads to me. I am
just into my family. I am a mom.”
Sandoval’s self-description fits in with many student
perspectives of dubbing her the “essential dorm mother.”
Sandoval said that she has loved her 11 years of working at
“My greatest reward is the friendliness the students show me. To
feel appreciated just makes my day.”
She has worked in Reinhardt, Olney, the President’s house, and
now Ege. She said that what makes a dorm hard to clean are the
“I have been very fortunate and very lucky, I have had hard
times but have managed to stay above water. I am happy,” said
Sandoval. “My greatest reward is the friendliness the students show
me. To feel appreciated just makes my day.”